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Where did all those high rollers come from? Las Vegas' newest hotel is adding more VIP gambling salons

Where did all those high rollers come from? Las Vegas' newest hotel is adding more VIP gambling salons
High rollers can play baccarat while enjoying a catered meal in the exclusive VIP gambling area at Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino. (Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino)

Less than four months after it opened, the Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is already remodeling. The reason? A larger-than-expected number of high rollers are driving demand for private salons that cater to VIPs.

A major makeover of the casino is underway at the hotel that opened with a casino, four restaurants, a tea garden and 203 hotel rooms.

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Pearl Ocean, a mid-range restaurant specializing in seafood and Asian dishes, will move to the ground floor in Lucky Dragon's renovation.
Pearl Ocean, a mid-range restaurant specializing in seafood and Asian dishes, will move to the ground floor in Lucky Dragon's renovation. (Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino)

"We find that we're doing more business out of the higher-end players than we had originally anticipated," Lucky Dragon's chief operating officer, Dave Jacoby, said. "That has sparked some increased focus … on making sure we dedicate enough of our resources to that type of play."

Jacoby is talking about baccarat, a table game hugely popular in China. High rollers play in exclusive salons, complete with butler service and private dining.

As part of the makeover, Pearl Ocean, one of Lucky Dragon's two full-service restaurants, will move from the second floor to the first later this year. That will create additional space upstairs for VIP gamblers who relish their privacy.

More high rollers than anticipated means a renovation for the hotel-casino that opened less than four months ago.
More high rollers than anticipated means a renovation for the hotel-casino that opened less than four months ago. (Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino)

Dragon's Alley, a self-service eatery just off the main casino floor, already closed to provide extra space as part of the makeover. It will eventually reopen as a small noodle bar.

Cha Garden, the hotel's tea bar located just off the lobby, will not be affected by the changes.

What's drawing so many high rollers?

Jacoby says the casino's clients like being at gambling sites with staff who speak their native languages. They also like the casino's intimate size.

The property at 300 W. Sahara Ave. is tiny compared to the mega-resorts on the nearby Strip.

When Lucky Dragon opened last November, Jacoby was targeting middle-class customers, mostly West Coast residents of Asian ancestry instead of people who live overseas.

"We are still getting that mid-range player that we intended to focus on," he says. "They're definitely still coming."

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